Went to visit my wife's family this past weekend in northeast PA. This meant I would finally get back to Knoebels for the first time since mid-April, two weeks BEFORE the park opened! Saturday morning September 2nd dawned wet, cloudy and cool. My son and daughter were going to hang out with Grandpa and his girlfriend, while my wife was going shopping with her Grandmother in Williamsport, 40 miles away. This meant I had time to kill, and I knew JUST how I was going to do that!
After dropping Loreen off at her grandmothers, it was west on PA 118 to south PA 42 and on to Knoebels. It rained all day, so that's going to be my weather report for this trip. I arrived to see a parking lot virtually empty of cars. After parking the minivan on the hillside, I slid down to the walkway and made my way to the park office. Why the heck would I do that? Knoebels has a nice deal on tickets if you buy $100 worth. Seeing as how the tickets are good forever, I hit the park office and paid $90 for my $100 in tickets. Now, I was NOT planning on using many of them on this day, they were for Sunday the 3rd, when 5 of us would be there. The office itself was kind of neat with pictures of past Knoebel family members as well as various awards, a nice mural, and a bunch of Golden Tickets!
Leaving the office I almost ran into a familiar looking person. Never having met him, but seeing pictures of him from other events I suddenly realized I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. John Fetterman! Timing is everything and mine was perfect this day! We talked for a couple of minutes and I requested permission to go over to the construction site and snap off some pictures. Since there was virtually NO work being done on the site this miserable rainy day he was gracious enough to take me over to the site, even though he was in the middle of doing something else. He gave me a quick overview of the site and the locations of some things before he had to be on his way to the welders area or something. I proceed to slog around the construction site snapping off several photos and trying to recall exactly what it was I was looking at and where such and such was going to be.
I must have spent an hour looking around the site. I never climbed up into the trough because I figured the gods of coaster construction would strike me down, but I got plenty of close up shots both of the trough, with water in it even, and from under the figure 12 area. I even found the answer to that long asked question, "Do they cart around boxes of nails?" The answer is no, and you can see it in one of my pictures. They're ROLLS of nails! It kind of reminded me of those war movies with the machine guns with the huge clip of rounds. Needless to say the ability to get this up close and personal with a ride being built was a priceless experience for me.
After I slogged off the site and stepped onto solid grounda again, I decided, what the heck, I still have time to kill...let's see...any good coasters around here? How about that green one? :)
I climbed up into the station which was absolutely packed with...me. That's it, nobody else was up there and a train had just left. Needless to say it was a one train operation kind of day. I opted for the back seat and was joined by a few other folks by the time the train returned. This was my very first WET Phoenix ride. HOLY FLAMING FLYING REAR END!!! The ride simply MOCKED gravity. (can I get a "neener" in here Andy?) :) It RUDELY disregarded the existance of Physics laws. I spent more of this ride OFF of my seat than on it! I've ridden the Phoenix many times over the years but have NEVER had a ride quite like that one! I was laughing all the way around the brake run and back into the station.
I decided that since I was in coaster mode I needed to trek over to Twister, which I hadn't ridden in a few years. Once again I opted for the back seat. This ride was a lot rougher than I remember, but the twists and turns and that helix make up for any discomfort I may have felt, not to mention it was FLYING because of the rain.
I then crossed the bridge and spotted the Flyer. Now, I have ridden flying scooters at many different parks over the years, but I could not recall if I had ever been on the Knoebels one. I can remember snapping the one at Geauga Lake way back in the late 80's but I couldn't recall any really good flying scooter rides since then. That was about to change. I handed the operator my tickets and headed towards my tub. He struck up a conversation with me about the college on my sweatshirt and about the game coming up that day. We had a nice conversation and then he fired up the motor. Once things got moving I proceeded with the standard back and forth motion trying to recall just how I used to fly the scooters at GL. All of a sudden I found my tub all the way back down where if the ride was to stop instantly, I could just climb out, and that's when the light bulb went on. I scared the crap out of myself with the bang and crack that I made. I managed to pull it off one more time before the ride ended, and the operator did not say anything to me after my ride other than things regarding college football. :) Score! I would return the following day with my 3 year old son on board...but that's another TR.
My final stop of the day was at the Grand Carousel. I had a feeling that we might not ride it the next day so I wanted to get in a good ring snatching ride before I headed out. I managed to snag 8 rings in 10 attempts. One time there was no ring to grab and I just smacked the dispenser, the next time around I tried to hard and failed miserably. I still did better than the young whippersnappers around me though! :)
After this it was time to head out, and even though I only had four rides, the time I spent talking to John about the Turns and other things made the trip worthwhile in and of itself. I don't pretend to know anywhere near as much as most of the members here do, and it seems I learn something new every day and for someone with the vast knowledge that John has to take a few minutes out of his workday to talk to a shmuck enthusiast from Ohio is priceless. Once again Knoebels has come through with flying colors, and my anticipation level for next season continues to go up. I just hope I don't have to wait until Labor Day weekend to get there!
To see pictures from this particular trip, go to:
If you click on the slideshow option, you will get larger pictures but only a brief caption. Clicking each individual photo will give you a smaller picture but a better description of what it is you are looking at.
Two other side notes, the initial helix is going to be covered, and the ride does have 3 lifts. This may be common knowledge for most of you but I missed that info somewhere.
Hope you enjoyed the report and like the photos! Day two will be posted soon.
Tom *** Edited 9/6/2006 6:45:12 PM UTC by LdScotsman***
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